How Was School Today? – Ways to Have More Meaningful Conversations with Your Kids

It’s a familiar scene. That period of time immediately after school pick. Neither you nor your kids have made the shift from work/school to home/play. You have the 'bridging conversation', that starts to connect their day with yours and you ask the question;

"So, how was school today?"

Their response?

"Fine."

And the truth is, it probably was.

So how do we get into a more meaningful discussion about their life without hitting a wall straight away?

For me, the best strategy I have found has been to distinguish between fact finding and curiosity questions. When I’m asking fact-facing questions, the conversations is really about me filling in information for myself. For example:

How was school today? What did you do today? What did you have for lunch? Did you get any homework? Was it cold at lunchtime?

My daughters already know this stuff. Why repeat it?  And actually, I probably know most of the answers already. I usually make their lunch!

Where it gets more interesting, is when I ask curiosity questions. For example:

What was the best thing about today? What was the coolest thing you did?

What word best describes today? If there was a little mouse in your classroom who could speak, what would he say about you today? If today was a colour, what colour would it be and why? (More examples can be found below).

These tend to start to tap into your kids emotions and generate a richer response from where you can grow the conversation.

Curiosity questions are also great if you are worried about your child. They can be a useful lead into a more searching discussion about what’s going on. For example:

If you had to give today a score between 1 and 10 what would you give it? Were there any sad times at school today? Were there any bored times? Did you find anything difficult?

These can sometimes be a really effective way into getting into what really happened in their day and how they feel about it. Use them cautiously, as there may not have been anything bad about their day and we don’t want to put words into their mouths!

So, curious questions are the way forward, but it’s not easy. Our brains spend their lives in fact finding mode and rightly so.  But the extra effort is worth it and will get you a far more enjoyable conversation.

Some other example questions:

If today was a shape, what shape would it be and why?
What was the most exciting thing you learned today?
If I spoke to your teacher, what would she say about you today?
How did you make someone else’s day better?
How did someone make your day better?
What happened today that has never happened before?
If tomorrow is going to be the best day ever, what will happen?
If all the teachers cha...

You get the idea...

Matt Hall